Newly found Brahms’ piece to debut on BBC

German composer Johannes Brahms was just 20 years old when wrote the piano piece “Albumblatt” in 1853. Now, nearly 160 years later, it will receive its world premiere next week on BBC radio, the broadcaster announced Friday.

“Albumblatt is an incredible discovery which gives a fascinating insight into the workings of this great composer,” said Roger Wright, an official with the BBC.

The work was only discovered recently when conductor and musicologist Christopher Hogwood was going through some papers at Princeton University Library, according to Agence France-Presse.

Hogwood came across the short piece in a visitors book once owned by the director of music of German’s Goettingen University.

“Although it lasts just two minutes, the work is a clearly defined piece of music complete with markings directing how it should be played,” according to the wire service.

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How to kill a great story

Looks like the BBC was short of staff earlier this week and decided to let the intern have a go at tackling a story.

This piece has all the makings of a great feature: 91-year-old World War II vet George Shepherd is “reunited” with the actual plane, a Hampden bomber, he was shot down in over Russia in 1942.  Shepherd, of England, and the plane’s pilot survived, while three other men were killed. The plane was rediscovered in 1989 and is now being restored.

Unfortunately, that’s about the entire story. In addition to this bare-bones effort, the BBC includes an amateurish out-of-focus photo of Shepherd.

Here are a few questions that could have turned this into a real article: How did the plane get shot down? Who rescued Mr. Shepherd? How was the plane rediscovered and why did it sit undisturbed for so long? Were the remains of the three men killed recovered when the plane was found? What became of the pilot? How did a British plane come to be shot down over Russia?

A little more color would have been nice, too. Take the fourth and fifth paragraphs, which read:

He (Shepherd) said visiting the aeroplane at RAF Cosford in Shropshire was moving.

“I recognised the plane alright,” he said.

Yes, that quote is certainly chock full of emotion, isn’t it?

Seems hard to believe that this was actually ok’d be an editor.